Tenerife is an action packed island with so much to do. Among other claims to fame, it has the only tropical forest in Europe and Spain’s largest resort complex. There are so many things to see and do in Tenerife, from whale watching or hiking to partying like a rock star or simply lying on a beautiful sandy beach.
The economic center of the Canary Islands offers something for everyone. Read on to learn the best things to do in Tenerife.
What to do in Tenerife? 20 Best Things to Do in Tenerife
1. Spend an afternoon or day at Siam Park
Everyone in the family can enjoy this first activity in Tenerife. Siam Park is a Thailand-themed water park. It brings the exotic beauty of Asia to the aquatic excitement of what I (and many others) like to think of as the best theme park in the Canary Islands.
The entire family can experience an adrenaline rush with an all day ticket to Siam Park Tenerife. The atmosphere takes you back to the bygone Kingdom of Siam even while you are on holiday in the Spanish islands lying off of Africa’s coast.
This park is quite large, covering 185,000 square meters of blended natural landscape with breathtaking man-made Oriental features. I love that every attraction here provides a one of a kind experience in a setting that is magical. Where else can you combine the Asian mysteries of Siam with the thrills of pulse pumping rides?
Siam Park holds records that will impress you. Its greatest is that the wave pool produces the biggest man-made waves on earth. These waves go as high as 10 feet (or three meters). You will personally experience this unique force when you ride the surf.
A signature ride here is the Tower of Power. After you climb to the top, you encounter a vertical plunge over a 91 foot (or 28 meters) drop. There is a gently winding river you can float along, or you can simply take in stunning views and the sun on pristine white sandy beaches.
The Floating Market is another attraction here I highly recommend. This traditional Thai village offers Thai massages, one of a kind souvenirs, and sweets and snacks to enjoy. The tour guides agree that Siam Park is one of the best things to do in Tenerife for the whole family.
2. Spend a Day At the Aqua Club Thermal Spa in Adeje
For a change from adventurous, outdoors activities, you can enjoy one of the more relaxing things to do in Tenerife. The Aqua Club Thermal Spa located in Adeje provides the perfect amount of relaxation in the largest urban spa in Europe. When you buy a full day ticket here, you gain access to each of the 18 different zones of the spa.
I love the immense size of this place. It encompasses a full 1,000 square meters to include a foot spa, Turkish bath, and whirlpools. You come out of the changing rooms though cleansing water pools and reach a pool area. Here the instructor goes through the itinerary of the two and a half hour spa circuit.
The stream area contains a cross current river along with 375 streams, perfect for stimulating your gluteal area. Poolside beds provide a place to stretch out.
Turkish baths allow you to relax here. You can partake of essential oils at the Temple of Showers. After this you move on to the Flotarium’s sea salt pool before you reach the foot bath that relaxes your legs. Pregnant women particularly enjoy this.
There is also a Finnish sauna and a mineral dew area. A toning pool and two more whirlpool baths lie between the two. The chemicals used here are ecological chlorine and sea salt extracts so that the water helps your hair, eyes, and skin as well as not harming the environment.
3. Go Stargazing In Teide National Park
Tenerife offers a unique opportunity to stargaze at the best rated place for watching the stars. This is one of the things to do in Tenerife that you should not miss. A typical tour starts from your hotel then drives you into the Teide National Park.
You will have the pleasure of dinner and drinks in a 2,600 feet above sea level Canarian restaurant. From the mountain viewpoint you will simply love the sunset view as you gaze over the three islands La Gomera, La Palma, and El Hierro.
The tour includes a guide who will use a laser pointer to show of the many constellations above the Teide National Park. These sights are breathtaking, set against the Teide Volcano and the various prehistoric rock formations all around.
You can not miss looking through the Dobsonian Telescope to see our solar system’s planets and other deep space objects as well as the Milky Way and incredible stars. The great thing about this one of a kind experience is that it entertains individuals of every age and background.
4. Ascend Spain’s Highest Peak Mt. Teide by Cable Car
Among the many things to see in Tenerife is the highest peak in Spain. Mt. Teide National Park boasts the title of largest park of the Canaries. Thanks to the magic of the cable car, you can take in the enormous volcanic landscape of the beautiful park for the price of a ticket.
I find sunrise and sunset to be the times where the park is at its most beautiful. After dark, Mt. Teide is among the best locations on earth from which to stargaze. The park offers different wonders of nature in the various seasons. In spring there are colorful explosions in Teide bugloss and white broom. In the winter, you will enjoy the snow that clothes the volcano.
To me the cable car is the best and easiest way to take in the entirety of the park. You will enjoy the eight minute long ride from the base station on to the tallest peak in all of Spain. From this upper station located at 3,555 meters/yards you can depart on three different hiking trails.
Two of these paths lead to the Fotaleza Lookout (with its stunning views over the island’s south) and Pico Viejo Lookout (with its fantastic vista of the island’s north). The third trail is the Telesforo Bravo path. It takes you to the volcano’s highest point of 3,718 meters/yards.
You will need to obtain a permit before being allowed to attack the mountain’s peak. Obviously this last trail is not for the faint of heart.
5. Take La Gomera Island Tour
Tenerife also offers a trip back in time to an island that time has forgotten. La Gomera is so beautiful and magical that you will not want to leave. This trip starts with getting a fast ferry boat over to San Sebastian de La Gomera.
From the island’s capital, you can drive into the Hermigua Valley on to the Garajonay National Park. You will be amazed by the one of a kind vegetation found in “El Cedro” forest.
An ideal spot for having lunch is at the island’s peak. The locals will perform a demonstration of their unusual whistling language “Silbo Gomero” while you eat. They still teach this language in their schools today, though it is no longer a primary form of communication on the elevated terrain where they practice tier farming.
The way back to the port will take you through “El Cercado” and “Chipude.” You will be amazed by the fantastic rock formations in “Agando.” Do not miss the culture and history of San Sebastian. This city’s church Asuncion is where the famed explorer Christopher Columbus prayed before setting off on his odyssey to the New World.
Check prices and availavility here.
6. Go On A Whale and Dolphin Tour
Another of the great family or couple things to do in Tenerife is to participate in a whale and dolphin tour. You start out on an attractive catamaran that comes complete with stations for underwater viewing through the pristine, clear waters.
The expert, local crew will take you from the harbor to the waters where the dolphins and whales (that live near Tenerife throughout the year) spend their time. There is commentary from the guide as you cruise into the open sea.
These cruises will take you down the coasts of Adeje, past Guia de Isora, and beyond Santiago del Teide. Pilot whale groups and dolphin pods are quite common along this coastline. When they find the whales and dolphins, be sure to go below deck so that you can see them playing under the surface of the water.
I always enjoy getting a glass of sangria to accompany lunch on deck when taking the three hour tour option. After returning to port, the tour can transfer you back to your hotel.
See also: Where to stay in Tenerife
7. Snorkeling with Turtles and Kayaking with Dolphins
Tenerife boasts so many nature opportunities for lovers of the great outdoors. I recommend the two and a half hour kayak adventure that allows you to personally experience the thrills of turtles and dolphins in their native habitat.
The beauty of the kayak is that it will not scare away these beautiful sea creatures. It is possible to find yourself surrounded by a group of as many as 30 magnificent dolphins who sometimes soar into the air in a display that is reminiscent of a show.
The waters surrounding Tenerife claim as many as five individual dolphin species. Bottlenose dolphins are the most commonly spotted here. You can also see such species as striped dolphins, rough toothed dolphins, and common dolphins. While no one can guarantee you a dolphin sighting, experts give you 95 percent odds of seeing them from your kayak on such a trip.
To view the sea turtles, simply take a break from kayaking to swim and snorkel. You can only access the bay which these turtles and bull rays frequent with a kayak. I have found it only takes a matter of minutes before the turtles swim up next to you and even swim around you. The bull rays will swim just beneath you down by the seabed.
8. Go Paragliding Over Barranco del Infierno
For those of you who love the thrills of paragliding, you should partake of the adrenaline rush and flight atop the Barranco del Infierno. This will have you at 1,000 meters/yards heights over land.
Even beginners are able to do it safely thanks to the highly experienced instructors who will assume control to lead you to the best view vantage points of the island. Those who have some experience or are brave can request that the instructor allow you to pilot the glider part of the time.
Besides the amazing views over Barranco del Infierno, you will also get to see Playa de las Americas and Roque del Conde from the skies. This tour finishes on land in Adeje at the Playa de la Enramada Beach.
9. Experience the Magical Anaga Forest
Among the many things to see in Tenerife is a magical guided tour of the Anaga Rural Park. This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve lies along Tenerife’s northeastern section. It is where a number of the most breathtaking hiking trails of Tenerife lie.
En route to this destination you will pass through the oldest city on Tenerife, La Laguna. The beautiful colonial city is itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Make a point to come back and spend an afternoon here if you can. The views from the mountain roads to the ancient Anaga rainforest will amaze you.
You will quickly enter into the denser woodlands. This unique tropical forest contains nearly 2,000 individual species of insects, reptiles, fish, and birds as well as a huge variety of plants. The forest itself feels enchanted in the misty, cool air.
As you come out of the forest, you will pass winding mountain roads into a pristine countryside. These are spectacular views here ranging from distant mountains and verdant valleys. Two hours from your start point will see you to the Chinamada Village. The locals live in cave houses that their ancestors carved literally into the mountains here.
An experience not to miss on this trip is the quaint family owned Guachinche La Cueva restaurant. It lies within one of the mountain caves. The fabulous menu offers common Canarian cuisine like “papas arrugadas con mojo,” “ropa vieja,” goat meat, goat cheese with fig jam, and bread.
They even provide vegetarian options such as salads and typical vegetable soup. The meal includes wine, beer, and soft drink choices as part of the cost. The journey back to your hotel is sure to be scenic.
10. Take A Grand Tour of Northern Tenerife
Some of the most incomparable and out of the ordinary sights on Tenerife are located in the island’s north. This journey starts by going through El Teide National Park. I highly recommend filming lava formations like Los Roques de Garcia, a world famous site. Your guide will teach you all about the park’s natural history as you take it all in.
The island’s northern villages boast a wealth of history. You will see the magical and ancient Dragon Tree (a hundreds of years old dracaena tree) in Icod de los Vinos town.
The town of Garachico was hit by a 1706 volcanic eruption but was only partially destroyed. Here you can take in one of a kind lava pools along with traditional Canarian architecture.
The tour finishes with a stunning mountain village called Masca. The views of gorgeous blue sea and incredible green valleys in the distance are mind blowing. The way back to your hotel takes you through the thriving Santiago del Teide city.
11. Take A Quad Bike Tour Through the Forest from Playa de las Americas
This tour includes a 60 kilometer length quad bike drive that starts and finishes in Playa de las Americas. Along the way, you will go down secondary roads of the island and dirt tracks to take in the incredible ravines and forests from a unique vantage point. The tour also takes you to 1,700 meters/yards up into the hills.
The tour gets you into the forests of the Teide mountain foothills and through the villages of La Escalona and Arona. It gives you free time to relax and explore in Vilaflor village at Mt. Teide’s base.
It concludes by taking you through more protected landscapes on the way back to Playa de las Americas. You can spend the afternoon shopping and exploring this exciting largest Spanish resort complex.
12. Take in Loro Parque the World Famous Animal Adventure Park
Another of the exciting things to see in Tenerife is the Loro Parque. A top Canaries Islands’ attraction, Loro Parque allows you to personally encounter awesome animal habitats that put you right up near the action.
This park boasts four different best in class shows too. I found the phenomenal Killer Whale show at the Orca Ocean to be my personal favorite.
The park is not only intended for fun. It also has the reputation of being among the best respected zoological gardens on the planet.
Visitors remember its incredible beauty, world class installations and facilities, and its concentration on the environment and the natural world. Loro Parque holds the distinction of having been the first park of its kind to receive the environmental certification award of Animal Embassy.
Visitors will enjoy the many different kinds of animals that dwell in the lush vegetation and tropical palm trees encompassing the Thai-themed architecture of the park.
The park boasts a recently updated parrot show that focuses attention on preserving forests as it features exotic parrots and their intelligence. They make wonderful ambassadors that everyone will love.
Loro Parque also has great activities for children. Kinderlandia is their kids-themed attraction that looks like an African village complete with huts among the trees. Children are able to climb and experience the jungle personally as they frolic across hanging bridges and careen back down on the snake slide.
There is also the Orca Roller Coaster, ensuring that parents as well as children will have a great time in Kinderlandia. Get yourLoro Parque Skip-The-Line Ticket here.
13. Take a Dive on the Yellow Submarine
Going on a dive on a yellow submarine is one of the great family things to do in Tenerife. This “Sub Fun Cinco” allow you to experience the Atlantic Ocean like never before. You board this submarine in San Miguel’s ritzy harbor at the southernmost part of the island.
“Sub Fun Cinco” offers a submarine bus pickup to most places on Tenerife upon request, or you can find your own transportation to San Miguel harbor.
The submarine itself takes you down to around 100 feet (or 30 meters) depth. From its glass windows you will be able to enjoy the countless fish, sting rays, octopus, and barracuda populating the waters here.
What really makes this tour a success is that it lies on the ocean bed where a staff diver meets it and lures the sea creatures in close to the windows. This allows you to capture fabulous photographs out of the surrounding panoramic windows.
Everyone will benefit from the local expert guide. He or she narrates and points out the various sea creatures that you will encounter along the one hour dive. The guide will also share technical information on the sub that makes possible your journey into this magical world.
With 22 big viewing windows and 44 seats, the vessel has plenty of room so that you can take in all of the breathtaking below the seas life in comfort. This tour can also be extended to a full day to include two and a half hours of free time in the shopping and party club mecca Playa de las Americas.
14. Go On A Jet Ski Safari in Southern Tenerife
Jet skiing is a thrilling activity that is made even more memorable in the south of Tenerife. You follow a guide to experience a thrilling ride along the coast of this gorgeous island. The tour takes you to places that you can only reach by water.
15. Take A Tuk Tuk Tour of Costa Adeje
If you have not traveled by Tuk Tuk, then you have not experienced all of the things to see in Tenerife. These vehicles are three wheel motorcycles that pull you along in a big open air carriage.
They allow you to encounter and explore the Costa Adeje in a personal and thrilling way. Your guide and driver will take you along the streets down to the Plaza El Duque which boasts a premium fashion center and one of the highest-end hotels in all of Tenerife. You will get to see the elegant Duque Castle that overlooks the beautiful Playa del Duque.
You will also enjoy seeing the tourist market where the merchants stalls overflow with locally produced crafts. The journey takes you to the San Sebastian Church, among the original Christian buildings on the south of the island.
Here you will also take in the Playa Enramada volcanic black sand beach. Your driver will let you off in the La Caleta village to see the neighborhood. It is a good idea to ask your driver for a recommendation of one of the wonderful restaurants.
Following your lunch break , you will get to encounter the main tourism harbor of the town in the Porto Colon. Your driver will also take you to the volcanic valley of the Caldera del Rey and by Siam Park the Thailand-based water park that is consistently rated as among the greatest on earth.
He will take you through the banana plantation fields and on to a visit to the Canary Farm. Here you can enjoy a locally produced smoothie while you encounter the horses, pigs, and chickens of the farm.
Your guide takes you back to the Avenida de Espana at the tour’s conclusion. This is a great way to see some of the best cities and sites of the Costa Adeje when you are looking for things to see in Tenerife.
16. Go On A Viking Ship Tour of Tenerife
When you are looking for fun things to do in Tenerife, you should not ignore the opportunity to take a cruise on a viking ship. This exciting adventure leaves from the south coast of the island out of Los Cristianos harbor.
I love the ship’s name Ragnarok, translated loosely as the day of doom. The ship takes you on a dolphin and whale scouting route along the coast. Many times I have seen these beautiful creatures swimming along the side of the ship. It makes for unforgettable photos.
Next the Ragnarok will take you along the beautiful coast, passing by Playa de Las Americas and the Adeje before anchoring in La Caleta. From this vantage point you will be able to take in the incredible cliffs and beaches lying beneath El Teide volcano.
The ship serves a chef-prepared Viking lunch. You will also have time for snorkeling and swimming in the pristine waters, where you may get to see sea turtles.
I love the journey back activities. The crew lets you dress in Viking costumes and play Viking games. The crew will gladly show you their authentic equipment and teach you how to handle the sword. You can even participate in a Viking battle if you wish. In keeping with the Viking spirit, the ship serves plenty of wine, beer, and beverages on the cruise.
17. Do the Mount Teide Observatory Tour
While you are looking for things to see in Tenerife, do not forget the Mt. Teide Observatory. This largest solar observatory on earth offers very interesting hour and a half tours. It lies atop the highest mountain in Spain.
These islands are known as one of the top three best places for you to observe the sky (alongside Hawaii and Chile). There are also a number of nocturnal and solar telescopes (that different European nations own) which you can see.
The tour starts with an introduction to the components of the observatory and a short video about the telescopes at night and the sky of the Canary Islands. Astronomy experts will walk you through the basics of astrophysics and how it works.
You will get to look at sunspots and solar flares in two telescopes. Another telescope allows you to see the various parts of it and how they work. I recommend this tour for the whole family.
18. Take in the Only Jungle Park in Europe
There is only one true jungle in Europe, and you will find it here in the south of Tenerife. It contains over 400 animals and in excess of 100 species among its verdant vegetation. The park provides three amazing shows with sea lions, exotic birds, and birds of prey.
Among the many animals you will enjoy in this jungle are toucans, pelicans, macaws, parrots, storks, swans, flamingos, ibis, cranes, vultures, hawks, eagles, and even humboldt penguins. The park has walking paths among the lemurs, a Great Orchid Garden, and a free flight aviary too.
19. Take Surf Lessons While on Tenerife
Another of the great things to do in Tenerife is to take up surfing. The island offers lessons in the form of a two hour course for beginners who wish to try out the sport as well as another for intermediate surfers. The lessons take place on El Poris de Abona beach in Playa La Punta.
The lessons begin with warm ups and practice in the sand before you take to the water to learn. Classes are fairly small with six students to an instructor. They include a Lycra shirt, wetsuit, and surfboard.
The facilities of the surfing school ensure you have everything you need (even accident and liability insurance coverage). Participants have to know how to swim and be at least eight years old.
20. Take a Hop On Hop Off Tour of the Capital
On your list of things to see in Tenerife has to be the island’s pulsing capital. A great way to take in Santa Cruz de Tenerife is via a Hop on and Hop Off open top City Bus. It will take you to all of the best sites including the Museo Historico Militar, Plaza de Espana, Mendez Nunez, and Casa del Carnaval.
As you travel through the city you will learn where all of the best commercial and cultural spots are to explore in more depth at your leisure.
I love that the tour comes with either free or discounted entry to many of the best attractions including buildings, museums, and parks. You also have the choice of bus or train options.
Commentary including the town’s history is provided in 14 languages over headphones. The tour provides you with an old town guided walking tour as part of the package so that you can really soak up the town’s interesting history and way of life.